Medication-invariant resting aperiodic and periodic neural activity in Parkinson's disease

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McKeown, Daniel J
Jones, Manon
Pihl, Camilla
Finley, Anna
Kelley, Nicholas
Baumann, Oliver
Schinazi, Victor R
Moustafa, Ahmed A
Cavanagh, James F
Angus, Douglas J
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Parkinson's disease (PD) has been associated with greater total power in canonical frequency bands (i.e., alpha, beta) of the resting electroencephalogram (EEG). However, PD has also been associated with a reduction in the proportion of total power across all frequency bands. This discrepancy may be explained by aperiodic activity (exponent and offset) present across all frequency bands. Here, we examined differences in the eyes-open (EO) and eyes-closed (EC) resting EEG of PD participants (N = 26) on and off medication, and age-matched healthy controls (CTL; N = 26). We extracted power from canonical frequency bands using traditional methods (total alpha and beta power) and extracted separate parameters for periodic (parameterized alpha and beta power) and aperiodic activity (exponent and offset). Cluster-based permutation tests over spatial and frequency dimensions indicated that total alpha and beta power, and aperiodic exponent and offset were greater in PD participants, independent of medication status. After removing the exponent and offset, greater alpha power in PD (vs. CTL) was only present in EO recordings and no reliable differences in beta power were observed. Differences between PD and CTL in the resting EEG are likely driven by aperiodic activity, suggestive of greater relative inhibitory neural activity and greater neuronal spiking. Our findings suggest that resting EEG activity in PD is characterized by medication-invariant differences in aperiodic activity which is independent of the increase in alpha power with EO. This highlights the importance of considering aperiodic activity contributions to the neural correlates of brain disorders.

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© 2023 The Authors. Psychophysiology published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Society for Psychophysiological Research. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Medical physiology

Neurology and neuromuscular diseases

Biological sciences

Biomedical and clinical sciences


Parkinson's disease

aperiodic activity

cluster-based permutation tests

excitatory and inhibitory (E:I) balance

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McKeown, DJ; Jones, M; Pihl, C; Finley, A; Kelley, N; Baumann, O; Schinazi, VR; Moustafa, AA; Cavanagh, JF; Angus, DJ, Medication-invariant resting aperiodic and periodic neural activity in Parkinson's disease, Psychophysiology, 2023, pp. e14478